Mikhail Emelyanov: Kairat Nematovich, hello. I know that you have long been acquainted with the game of Go. It is very interesting how you came to this game, what made you think about it and start playing Kairat Kelimbetov:
Hello. Literally ten years ago I first got acquainted with this game. Then I worked in the sovereign fund “Samruk-Kazyna”, this is a national wealth fund, and we had very extensive international contacts. Our partners are mainly companies from China, South Korea, Japan, everyone had Go on their lips. And my friends from Moscow instilled in me an interest in the game of Go not just as a sporting hobby, but as a kind of mechanism for developing strategic skills. Mikhail Emelyanov: I found an analysis of your an interview with Bloomberg, where they analyzed your approach to doing business, and there is this quote: “Kelimbetov is known for maintaining optimism and presence of mind in any situation. For international investors who are cautiously watching the situation on world markets, this approach may be the only right one.” Such an optimistic approach and fortitude are inherent in the masters who practice Go, without this quality you cannot win. Is it possible to say that goban and stones are your business assistants? Kairat Kelimbetov:
Yes, absolutely. My life credo is that the world belongs to optimists, and optimists achieve progress and contribute to development. As I already said, when I first got acquainted with this game, or, one might even say, with this art, for me, first of all, it was interesting how it is comparable, or how it is transferred to the current reality. It seems to me that the most important thing was to understand why this game was always given such importance in ancient times in the East. Especially and as a rule, various diplomats, military leaders, strategists - they all did this in one way or another. And it seems to me that this game is still underestimated in the West. In the West, chess is well received, and chess is also a tool for understanding strategy and tactics, but strategy in three dimensions, 3D, is what Go gives. I understand that serious professionals and masters who play at the highest dans probably have some special understanding, but even the first understanding of this game gives serious impulses for the development of thinking. What I learned first of all for myself: if direct negotiations are accepted in traditional Western or European culture, “yes or no”, then in the East and especially in Asia, as a rule, the strategy is built around, and it seems to me that it is also very important understand the psychology of your opponent. That is, combinations are often offered when directly challenged. What is behind this? Is it really a threat or more some kind of manipulation of your consciousness? That is, politeness and restraint are instilled. All this is really interesting, and in a certain sense it is the study of the psychology of the opponent and your own psychology, that is, what do you see as your strengths, are you sure or not sure how you are going to conduct this or that controversy in the future, especially in business, where there is interest. That is, when a stone is placed, it immediately raises many questions. What does this mean: will there be resistance here or is it just some kind of watch? From the point of view of understanding deep strategic approaches, it is interesting for me to do this, and through communication with my Russian colleagues it would also be interesting to instill these strategic game skills in our country. < b>Mikhail Emelyanov: You probably know that many of the politicians and businessmen who practice Go immediately strive to instill this game in their team, and we know many examples of international companies, such as Google, Huawei, where there are go clubs. In Russia, they are open, for example, in Rostelecom, in Yandex, in representative offices of international companies such as Samsung, LG. Have you thought about creating a business club in the international financial center? Kairat Kelimbetov:
We have been thinking about this for a long time, we have a lot of people playing with each other, but for us it is, first of all , building a communication network both within the country and in our region. I would like to remind you that our international financial center was created, first of all, in order to become a kind of bridge between East and West. In this sense, as part of the Eurasian space, or as part of Central Asia, we have always seen this interpenetration of the cultures of the West and the East. And on the other hand, an international financial center is such a concentration of managerial personnel, there is a whole business network around us, where many people are addicted to this game, and if they are not addicted, then it’s probably time to understand and engage, from the point of view of strategic management, this game. And it seems to me that the IFC would be a good hub to connect and build business communication between Western and Eastern financial business institutions. We have a lot of partners who are directly involved in this. These are our partners within the framework of the One Belt, One Road initiative, and our partners in the Eurasian economic space, many of them, I know, are also addicted to this game in Russia. Therefore, for us, God himself ordered that the MFC create such a business club around the game of Go, which would also allow us to build our communications with the rest of the world. Mikhail Emelyanov: Let's talk about the World Championship in Vladivostok. I want participants not only from amateurs and athletes to play Go, but also businessmen and politicians, and I will also be glad to see you at the Championship. Will you sit at the goban and who would you like to play with? Maybe you have some preference? Kairat Kelimbetov:
Based on the preliminary list of participants, of course, it would be interesting to play with Mr. Chang Zhenming, who is one of the famous masters of this game. At the same time, this is a long-term partner of our country - Citic has been working in Kazakhstan for many years, we are partners in many areas, so it would be interesting for me to understand at what level such masters play and at the same time continue our business relationship. Mikhail Emelyanov: As far as I know, he plays very well. He is a professional 7th dan, but I think it will be very interesting for you to look at him from this point of view. Kairat Kelimbetov:
I highly appreciate this initiative of holding a business match. In addition to the sporting event itself, where the masters play, in my opinion, it is important to popularize the game among the general population, among the business and business elite, which could use Go as an additional means of communication for building bridges, for cultural and humanitarian communication. I believe that this is another way for us to understand Eastern wisdom, to understand the ancient laws of this game and to bring something new, technological into it. We know that AlphaGo, digital Go, and a lot of ideas about tokenization have also appeared. There are various ideas that I like that the result of the game does not have to be someone's victory or someone's defeat, but there are some "win-win" (from the English "win-win" - ed.) decisions when the game is on for the benefit of both parties in order to further develop their intellectual abilities and emotional intelligence. Now it is very fashionable to say that both hemispheres of the brain should be involved, and each person should strive to develop certain skills. I think Go is the perfect way to do this. Mikhail Emelyanov: I studied how Go is developing in Kazakhstan. You already have a federation, and the popularity of the game is actively growing. Have you thought about holding a big tournament on your territory? We have a lot of experience in holding various tournaments in Russia, but such significant events have not yet taken place in Kazakhstan. Kairat Kelimbetov:
Yes, indeed, the very holding of the championship in neighboring Russia makes us think that in order to further popularize the game, it would be good to hold such a serious event in Kazakhstan. Maybe in the coming years it will be the World Championship, and in the near future - some major tournaments of masters. We are focused on holding such an event. I can say that the development of such intellectual, strategic skills is something that is close to our international financial center. For example, last year, together with the Chess Federation of Kazakhstan, we held the World Team Chess Championship here in our building. And there was a lot of interest too. We helped and contributed to the intellectual game “What? Where? When?”, and in general the development of such intellectual skills is a priority in the training of future managers in Kazakhstan. I think that Guo will seriously complement and enhance these opportunities of the international financial center, so we are very interested in holding such a major tournament of masters and are ready to cooperate, which, in my opinion, will arouse the interest of many multinational corporations to also participate in this event. Mikhail Emelyanov: For our part, we are ready to share our experience and help. Once again I invite you to Vladivostok, you will see how the World Championship is going. I think that we will hold it at a very high level. Thank you very much for such a wonderful interview. Kairat Kelimbetov:
Thank you very much for the invitation.